Friday, January 25, 2013

More Ashtanga Myths: Coffee Prana and Rajasic Practice

As mentioned previously much of what is quoted by Guruji today has been taken out of context. It also has to be realized that he had quite a sense of humor! And, in addition, we have to recognize that Guruji was not a renunciate yogi sitting in a cave but a family man with his likes and dislikes and even pleasures. Guruji loved coffee as well as chocolate, gold, gems and many other material things. That is not to say he was overly attached, but though an extraordinary human being he was also an ordinary one.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Further questions from Elise - what is the role of Teacher in Ashtanga Yoga?

What is the role of the teacher in Ashtanga Yoga?

I believe the teacher's role is primarily that of a therapist. All students start by learning the Primary Series which is also known as Yoga Chikitsa and most students never learn the second or third series. Chikitsa means therapy. The intermediate Series is known as Nadi Shodhona - this is a purifying sequence, so I think it also falls under the category of therapy. From the yogi's perspective, the reason we can not experience samadhi, is because we are sick. Mind and body are polluted - so asana practice along with pranayama and the yama and niyama are designed to heal, purify and strengthen the body and mind, so that the internal aspects of yoga may be experienced.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is Ashtanga Yoga religious? - further questions from Elise

Is Ashtanga yoga religious?

What do we mean by religious? The word religion comes from the latin re-ligare - to re-bind, re-connect... with God/divinity. From one perspective that is the essence of yoga. However yoga is not a religion in the normal sense of the word, nor are yoga practitioners necessarily religious, though they may be, of course. In fact, yoga is the opposite of a religion in a number of ways.